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Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief

Read about the history of voting, presidential trivia, or a duck who thinks he should be in charge, in this month's list of recommended books for kids ages 0-9. They all pay tribute to our unique democratic system. So, grab a book, get involved, and don't forget to vote!

Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words

By: Donna Janell Bowman
Illustrated by: S. D. Schindler
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Even good guys behave badly sometimes and that includes American hero, Abraham Lincoln. Rather than demount old Abe from a pedestal, this historical episode serves to demonstrate that even the best folks make mistakes and that errors can be rectified. Humorously told and expressively illustrated, additional information concludes the tale of Lincoln’s almost-duel.

America Votes: How Our President Is Elected

By: Linda Granfield
Illustrated by: Steve Bjorkman
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Elections are anything but dull, and participation is very important in a democracy. Just consider what it must be like in places where citizens can’t vote! This playful introduction to presidential elections provides a brief history of voting in the U.S. (including the "chad story") and encourages young people to get involved.

Dear Mr. Washington

By: Lynn Cullen
Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Could one of Gilbert Stuart's 12 children get President George Washington to smile while having his portrait painted? In this richly imagined, humorous fictional account of what the president experienced while sitting for his portrait in Stuart's home is revealed through a lively correspondence and expressive line and wash illustrations.

Duck for President

By: Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by: Betsy Lewin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Do you think things would be better if you were in charge? Duck thinks he can do a better job than Farmer Brown, but once in power he soon tires of the duties and responsibilities of leadership. So he decides maybe he's better off writing his autobiography – which he does on a typewriter that clever readers will recognize from another book by this talented team.

George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen By Both Sides

By: Rosalyn Schanzer
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The Georges most prominent in early America — England's George III and America’s George Washington — had much in common even though their politics put them on opposite sides of the issue of independence as well as the Atlantic. Serious information about the men, their struggles, and the times in which they lived is conveyed in an engaging format and light touch that tells of the birth of the United States.

If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House

By: Jane O'Connor
Illustrated by: Gary Hovland
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The "beautiful 200-year-old mansion on 18 acres of land right in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C.," is better known as the White House. It's where most, though not all, U.S. presidents have lived. Fun and fast, this lighthearted look at the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is presented in sound bites and illustrations reminiscent of political cartoons.

John, Paul, George and Ben

By: Lane Smith
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Fact and fiction, old and new styles of illustration, wit and seriousness combine in this pithy, lighthearted look at four luminaries in American history. Only mature readers will appreciate the title's name play but are sure to chuckle at the take on John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington and Ben Franklin. Fact is clearly differentiated from fun at book's end.

Max for President!

By: Jarrett Krosoczka
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It's election time, and both Max and Kelly are running for class president. They busily make campaign signs and buttons and develop their platform. There can only be one winner, though, so someone is bound to be disappointed. All ends well, though, in this satisfying and recognizable story.

Presidential Misadventures: Poems that Poke Fun at the Man in Charge

By: Bob Raczka
Illustrated by: Dan Burr
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A poetic form called the "clerihews" was established in 1890. It's the short form used to briefly present presidential factoids that are sometimes irreverent but always humorous and based in fact. Each four-line poem is accompanied by a black and while line caricature of the president to magnify the humor.

Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents

By: Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by: John Hendrix
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sophisticated readers will appreciate the snippets of presidential history presented in a variety of poetic forms. Illustrations, reminiscent of political cartoons, range in tone from serious to silly. Additional information about the office and the individual presidents concludes this appealing and surprisingly informative collection (which includes the sitting POTUS).

Smart About the Presidents

By: Jon Buller
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ms. Brandt's class gets an assignment to write about all of the U.S. presidents. Basic information about who can be the president and what the job really entails is followed by a one-page overview of each president. Several blank pages and a space to fill in information at the end of George W. Bush's term will keep this book, which has the informal look of a child's journal, current beyond this year's election.

So, You Want to Be President?

By: Judith St. George
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Anyone can be president, whether fat (William Howard Taft) or tiny (James Madison), relatively young (Teddy Roosevelt at 42) or old (Ronald Reagan at 69). Hobbies, sports, virtues, and vices all get a tongue-in-cheek airing in this fascinating collection of presidential trivia.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library

By: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by: John O'Brien
Genre: Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This lively look at Thomas Jefferson's lifelong obsession with books and reading is told with verve and humor. How Jefferson's sizeable book collection came to reside at the Library of Congress brings both the man and his time into focus. Additional information about the man and his legacy as well as additional resources conclude this brief, fact-filled, engaging book.

To Dare Mighty Things

By: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: C. F. Payne
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

As a young, sickly child, "Teedie" Roosevelt dreamed of becoming an adventurer like in the books he gobbled up. Lush, expressive illustrations, well-chosen quotes, and a lucid text brings the life of the boy who grew into a remarkable man whose biggest adventure may have been that of the 26th President of the United States.

Vote!

By: Eileen Christelow
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The history of voting in the United States is presented using a town's mayoral election as the framework. Even the town dogs have their say in the whimsical, cartoon-like illustrations which provide additional information for the reader.

What Presidents Are Made Of

By: Hanoch Piven
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What are presidents made of? These collage portraits take this question quite literally. Theodore Roosevelt is made of "endless energy," created with wire and a light bulb, while Ronald Reagan's picture uses the jellybeans he was so fond of. This unusual book concludes with an official portrait of all the presidents and their dates in office.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at Amazon.com help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

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